There’s no getting away from Seven’s ratings failures in 2020 –My Kitchen Rules, House Rules, Plate of Origin, Between Two Worlds -but all were produced by Seven Studios, which the network has signalled will no longer be in the high-risk business of development.
While Seven will continue to produce Home & Away, Better Homes & Gardens and Border Security, Director of Programming, Angus Ross is upbeat about commissioned success stories this year: Big Brother, Farmer Wants a Wife and SAS Australia.
“It was really a year of year of two halves, I think you’d have to say,” he tells TV Tonight.
“We tried to reboot some of our existing franchises in the first half of the year being My Kitchen Rules and House Rules. James (Warburton) had called them out as being stale and tired and we did a last-ditch attempt to reboot them. Unfortunately, neither of them performed strongly enough to be able to come back next year. Then really the back half of the year, when Big Brother hit our schedule, was the start of our outwardly focused commissioning strategy, where we get out of the program development business through Seven Studios and start to commission proven international formats. That’s the new strategy under James.”
While Ross cities a “three from three” strike rate on new commissions, 2020 also disrupted plans.
“Clearly this year we couldn’t bring Holey Moley which was unfortunate, it was due to air in the back half of the year but will be with us for the start of next year. And we couldn’t deliver Australia’s Got Talent either due to the international travel restrictions.”
Nine won the year in Total People and advertiser-friendly demos, but observers note a strong pushback by Seven in the second half of the year.
“We finished the year within 0.5 of a share point of Nine, with several shows down that we’re due to be on at this time. So we’re very happy with the performance for the back of the year and are looking to deliver a full schedule for next year again, following the same strategy: proven international tentpole programming.
“The first episode of SAS Australia has done over 400,000 extra viewers on that service. When you look at the Overnight, plus 7 day, plus regional, plus the streaming numbers, it’s actually a bigger show than The Block -because it’s so much bigger on 7Plus, much bigger on the seven day consolidated and it’s bigger in the regions as well.
“We also have the number one multi channel group 7mate, 7TWO, 7flix. Even with one less than our competition, ours is the biggest.”